IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram)

What is intravenous pyleogram?

An IVP, or intravenous pyleogram, allows us to evaluate your child's kidneys, ureters and bladder. This study uses x-rays and an intravenous contrast agent to show the basic anatomy and how the urinary system functions and drains.

An IVP is a fluoroscopy procedure. This is an imaging technique that uses x-rays to create "real-time" or moving images of the body. It helps doctors see how an organ or body system functions. A radiologist (x-ray doctor) and radiologic technologist perform the procedures together.

In most of these types of exams, your child will lie on the table while the x-ray machine, called a fluoro tower, is brought overhead. The fluoro tower has a curtain on it; it's like being in a tent or a small car wash! You, the doctor and your child will be able to see the images on a television monitor in the room.

What should you do prior to the exam (preparations)?

  • Give your child more liquids than usual on the day before the exam.
  • On the evening before the exam at dinner time, give your child Milk of Magnesia under the following dosage guidelines:
    • 0 to 2 years: none
    • 2-5 years: 2 teaspoons
    • 5-10 years: 1 tablespoon
    • 10 years and up: 2 tablespoons
  • CLEAR LIQUIDS should be consumed on the day of exam. Please note that Breast Milk is not considered a clear liquid and cannot be consumed for four (4) hours prior to the exam.
  • NO SOLIDS should be consumed for four hours prior to the exam.

If your child has a noted allergy to radiographic contrast, additional preparations may be necessary.

Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed. Your child will be given a gown to change into for the procedure.

You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam

Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. Other arrangements should be made for siblings.

Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant will be asked to leave the exam room during the procedure. Please make sure that there is someone else available to accompany your child during the exam, if needed.

What should you expect during the exam?

This test ranges from 30 minutes to more than 1 hour, depending on how your child's urinary system functions.

  • A nurse will take your child’s weight and allergy history. This will help us determine the amount of contrast material to give your child.
  • The nurse will place an IV in your child’s arm, hand or foot. Your child may feel a little pinch.
  • A radiologic technologist will bring you and your child to the radiology department and will ask why the IVP is being done and will explain the study to both you and your child.
  • The technologist will take a preliminary x-ray before the exam is started.
  • After evaluating the film and your child’s history, the radiologist will come into the exam room and confirm all information about your child's symptoms and allergy history.
  • The doctor will administer the contrast media through the IV tube. Your child may feel a warm or a cool sensation during the injection. The contrast agent will highlight the kidneys and show how they drain down the ureters into the bladder.
  • Several x-rays will be taken at different time intervals during the exam. Your child may be asked to move in several positions for the x-rays.

If you’d like, our child life specialists will help you prepare your child and support her during the procedure. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist at your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways and to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience.

Radiation Safety for Fluoroscopic Procedures

We are careful to limit the dose of radiation your child receives. Your child will wear a lead shield during the procedure. We also adjust the dose of radiation according to the size of the child and we administer the x-rays in a pulsed, rather than constant fashion to minimize the amount of radiation.

What should you do after the exam?

There are no special instructions for your child to follow upon completion of this procedure.

Test results

The images from your child's exam are interpreted on the same day and a report sent to your physician's office.